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Who Ate All The Pies? by Mick Quinn

Release date: 11th April, 2004
Publisher: Virgin Books

List Price: £7.99
Our Price: £6.39
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The opening to this very funny autobiography is as unpromising as the start to Mick Quinn's football career when, after a few months as an apprentice at Derby County, the big lad from the Liverpool council estate became homesick and returned to his roots.

The story opens with Quinn emerging from St James' Park after signing for Newcastle United on his way for a "celebratory bevvie" when a banner held aloft by a group of youths outside of the stadium declares "Who the **** is Mick Quinn?" Our deflated hero cannot wait to get out onto the pitch for his first game against Leeds United a month laterÖ

Quinn doesn't hold back when it comes to scoring goals, nor describing the ball hitting the back of the net. His debut was everything a centre forward dreams about. Quinn scored four times in a 5-2 Newcastle victory, unleashing "a right foot thunderbolt" for his final goal before racing to the Gallowgate end to listen to the chant that would accompany him whenever he stepped onto a league ground: "He's fat, he's round, a number nine we've found, Micky Quinn, Micky QuinnÖ"

As we learn, there are several variations to these lyrics, depending on whether they are being sung by home or away supporters.

Mick Quinn was as far removed from the modern day, calorie-controlled footballer you could imagine. He probably thought pasta was what you did when you walked by a girl, not as though big Mick walked past many, nor could he be relied upon to give a body swerve to a bar. The tales of incredible alcohol consumption are light years away from the professional, athletic promoted by top flight footballers today.

In addition to earning big money, being propositioned by gorgeous blondes and drinking for England, Quinn had a problem - gambling. One story exemplifies the extent to which Mick and his money were easily parted.

In 1991, immediately after finishing training at Newcastle, Quinn took a taxi to the airport having collected £5,000 in new notes from the bank. Another taxi from Heathrow took him to Sandown Park and his great friend and racehorse trainer, Mick Channon. Quinn asks whether the horse he fancies, Mighty Lady, has travelled well and is assured by Channon that the horse "will run a big race" before he places every penny on the horse to win at 11/2. It doesn't win and Quinn cannot draw any more money because the earlier cash withdrawal had sent him over his account limit.

The experience failed to dampen Quinn's love of racehorses, although his girlfriend, Sheila, had him "in the doghouse for days". Many other partners may have extended that period, but Quinn was soon back inside the bookies' office never putting more than £50 on a race - but he would stay for twenty races a day.

When the football career ended in 1996, Quinn pleaded with Channon to take him on as an apprentice racehorse trainer and eventually, Channon succumbed. It seems an appropriate setting for the big man who ends the book with a financial summary of his footballing days. "Approximate earnings in football career: £750,000; Cash left on retiring: nil; cash invested in property and cars on retiring: nil. If there's a funnier football autobiography this year, I haven't yet read it.


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